Rolling down the coast


9/26/16

Sacramento, CA to San Jose, CA 

144.1 miles Ridden 

Today was the roughest yet. Waking up in the hotel next to Cat and knowing she was leaving was incredibly tough, far more difficult than leaving the first time. We spent the morning together at the hotel and then took the rental car back to the airport and got picked up by Cat's mom. 

We ended up buying the tools and hardware I needed to mount the tractor tubes (Cheapest source I could find) from Lowes and then going to drop Cat's mother off and borrow the car. Cat and I went back to Vera's for my bike and for me to install the new disposal as a thank you. All went smooth and I rode back to Cat's mom's place to work on the bike. 

We ended up making one more trip out for supplies at the auto parts store but I was able to get both tool tubes mounted as well as the highway pegs installed. (Install Blog)

It was all an emotional experience as the time wound down for Cat to leave and for me to depart to San Jose. Seeing her off was a rough time for both of us and we were both fairly distraught. It was hard knowing that I would not see her again for many months. Our first parting had included the knowledge that we would see each other in Sacramento which made it much easier.

Once on the road the heat took a major toll on me as I moved through patchy sections of scrub brush among fields in various states of agricultural planting, growing, and harvesting. The ride itself wasn't too eventful but I was extremely grateful to come down towards the water and the cooler temperature of San Jose. 

I got in much earlier than expected and rode to the practice venue for the Silicon Valley Roller Girls. The ride was at dusk and the Loma Wildfire was burning on the ridge out to the west and its flames could be seen cresting the hill in some areas. I was there so early that it was best to go to Tara's home on Communications hill. The ride up Communication Hill was marked by the entire right side of the road being covered by parked cars, all seeming to be there to watch the fires to the west. 

Once at Tara's I unloaded and covered the bike and came in to meet her husband Shannon and the three kitties. 

Tara and I rode together to scrimmage where I worked as the Jam ref. It was a fun scrimmage to work and I enjoyed getting to work with both Tara and Johnny instead of just housing with them like I did at Vancouver Playoffs. 
The Silicon Valley Roller Girls scrimmage officials
 
Some of the skaters of Silicon Valley Roller Girls

The rest of the night was uneventful except for Tara giving me some of her first try at smoking pork belly into bacon, and it was amazing and is now on my list of skills to acquire.

9/27/16

San Jose, CA to Santa Barbara, CA 

301.1 miles ridden. 

The day started out warm but bearable as I got up and loaded the bike. Once out of the coast on the 101 though it was blazing hot. 

I passed a few trees that stuck out to me but I didn't stop to photograph them and quickly began to kick myself for it. The realization struck home when I saw a group of horses clustered under a single tree for shade and made myself turn around and go take photos.I was laying beside the bike to get interesting shots so two vehicles stopped thinking I was a heat casualty. It felt right to stop and take the pictures as I saw them.  It was a reminder to not be destination driven, but to take the trip as it comes.

I had to stop many times just to rest out of the heat and to use the bathroom. The abdominal pain and loose stool I had picked up in Sac had continued to be pervasive and needed attention quite regularly. Thankfully I was able to stop into a small motorcycle shop along the way that had some great vintage bikes on display.  


Way too cool to pass up
They were also nice enough to lend me a grinder to finish nipping off the carriage bolts holding the new tractor tubes to the bike.
All ready to hold my fuel cylinders

Not everything I saw on the road was motorcycle related though. As I fueled up in the shade I got to see a cleanly restored example of one of my favorite vehicles of all time, the '69-'72 Chevy K5 blazer.
Once I made it to Santa Barbara I took the directions from Cheeks, but couldn't see the house numbers and so stopped to look, when her husband Dan walked up to me and startled the hell out of me. Was a good laugh and he turned out to be a really nice Harley guy, former racer, current contractor, and a former marine. We got along well and were razzing each other by the end of the evening. 

Practice for the Mission City Roller Derby was held at an outdoor hockey rink of smooth but high-grip concrete. I led a strenuous practice and crammed a lot in to the two hours. The league was great and had phenomenal attitudes and some very skilled skaters. 

Following practice we went back to cheeks's for tacos and beer. Cheeks agreed to let me pay for the beer and food picked up on the way home as my way of saying thank you for housing me. The micro-party was good fun and afterward I took an ice bath to aid in my legs recovery, which resulted in the discovery of a leak in the tub down into the ceiling of the bathroom below. I felt terrible but Cheeks and Dan assured me it was alright and would have been found sooner or later. I went to sleep late but glad for new friends and a great experience coaching.

9/28/16

Santa Barbara, CA to Pasadena, CA 

150.2 miles ridden. 

Started out at Cheek's and Dan's where I slept in a bit before loading up and heading in for tea and a muffin with Brojectile before hitting the road. We met at a local place called Vices and Spices that was a great little coffee and tea spot where many locals were very interested in the project and asked lots of questions. 

Brojectile was able to give me a great twisty rout out of Santa Barbara to ran me up into the hills overlooking the sea. I only managed to get lost a few times but really had a blast on the curvy mountain roads. And lunch wasn't too bad either.


The rest of the ride in went fairly well and I stopped into The Soldiers Project offices for a few moments where I spoke with Natasha in person for the first time. We decided to meet at her place for dinner where I would eat and ultimately stay the night. 

I left the office and pushed for CSC Motorcycles to go and take a look at the RX3 Cyclone for Cat. I spent almost an hour in the store taking video and photos for Cat and doing a parking lot test ride of the bike. 

After CSC closed I rode to Pasadena where I would eat dinner with Natasha and her boyfriend Jared. They were both incredibly kind and gracious hosts and fed me an amazing dinner of a pheasant that Natasha had shot the weekend before as well as steak and broccoli with a homemade cheese sauce. 

Jared and I talked military service, he had just gotten out of the Marines three weeks ago, and transition life. I would later learn from Natasha that he rarely talked with anyone about his service and was generally very reserved. I was surprised to hear it because he had been so open with me and a real pleasure to talk to.

I was able to relax a bit and get set up to sleep on my sleeping pad in their guest room. Overall a very interesting and hot day but still part of the adventure.

9/29/16

Pasadena CA, to Temecula, CA 

148.6 miles ridden 

Well the upset stomach and abdominal pain turned into full on diarrhea during the night. I woke up every few hours to rush to the bathroom. It made for fitful sleep but I was still able to get some rest and sleep in a bit.  

Once up Jared told me there was breakfast already made and let me use their shower. Was good to get cleaned up and enjoy a home cooked meal for the second time. Natasha and Jared were amazing hosts and I am so grateful for them. 

I loaded up and rode out to VFW post 43 in Hollywood to give my presentation. The event turned out to be an informal Q&A discussion over lunch and very low key. Lots of the veterans present worked in the film and TV industry and gave some interesting insight into Vets entering the field. Once we were done and photos were taken I was given a tour of the building and learned a little of its amazing history.

After lunch three other vet riders and I rode from the post to the Pacific Coast Highway along Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Strip. The ride was traffic chocked but good to ride and also to remember why I am so enjoying riding solo.

From the coast I rushed to Temecula to coach the Wine Town Rollers. I barely made it to Shelley and Dominic's and Shelly had to turn around and come grab me. We were a few minutes late but got right into it. 

Michbehaving was great and really interested in learning everything she could to improve her training. The skaters and refs were great and really receptive. I was a little scattered but I think it went really well overall. Lots of folks saying their minds were blown again which made me feel great. 
The crew from the Wine Town Rollers practice I coached


We stopped at an Albertson's groceries on the way back to Shelley's and I grabbed some sushi, a few bananas, a double berry protein drink from Naked juices, and replaced my contact solution. I was also able to get a thing of body powder to help fight the monkey butt I have been developing in the heat. Got a quick shower after wolfing down the food and called it a night.

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